What Homeowners Think About Solar Power in North Carolina
December 7, 2022
The Freedom Solar team recently surveyed consumer sentiments of those that have chosen or are considering solar panels in North Carolina. After talking to over 300 Raleigh and Charlotte homeowners across a wide range of ages and incomes, we uncovered some surprising yet exciting stats that solar may be an even better fit for locals than they think.
1) Financial savings is the biggest draw, but up-front costs cause the most worry:
Not surprisingly, we found that financial savings was the number one reason people want to go solar. 88% of the North Carolina homeowners we surveyed said that energy cost savings were most important to them, but 73% said that the upfront cost was the biggest barrier to home solar installations.
The good news – we’ve been talking to homeowners about solar costs for 15 years, and over that time we’ve seen solar costs decrease significantly. Even more importantly, the availability of affordable financing options have made solar more accessible to most homeowners.
- $45,000 is the average savings that Freedom Solar customers will experience over the lifetime of their solar (energy savings net of system costs)
- 80% of our customers finance their system, with the average monthly solar payment being less than their monthly electricity bill.
For those who are considering the switch, We’ve created a Solar Cost Estimate Calculator, powered by Google Maps, to help you estimate your solar costs and potential savings based on your roof line, before a consultant even steps foot in your home.
2) New tax incentives are here to help, but awareness is low:
There are a multitude of local, and federal incentive programs put in place to help more people make the switch to solar. Following the enactment of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in August 2022, the U.S. government is now offering a 30% tax credit incentive on the initial costs of residential and commercial renewable energy resources.
Surprisingly, we found that 51% of respondents were not aware of “current or future tax incentives derived from North Carolina legislation or the recently passed IRA.”
What’s even more serendipitous was that when asked what dollar value incentive they would need to consider solar or renewables, 65% of North Carolinians said they would want approximately $9,999. With the average U.S. solar installation costing $20,000, the new federal tax credit would average $6,000 back to the customer, with potential for additional state and local incentives that could provide further savings to reach that desired range. Freedom Solar’s consultants are here to help you understand and report your installation for a maximum refund.
3) Strong warranties eased early adopters of solar and remains an important factor for consumers considering the switch:
31% of Raleigh and Charlotte homeowners were concerned about technical malfunctions or reliability. In a similar poll from Forbes, 7-8% of Americans worry about solar panel repair and maintenance, reliability issues. Recent bad players in the local solar industry and severe weather are likely driving those concerns compared to the national average.
What helps to allay consumers’ concerns is a sound warranty and a focus on customer service. Warranty was the second most important factor behind cost for selecting a solar provider with 69% of respondents considering solar in Raleigh and Charlotte.
Current solar panel owners in North Carolina placed the primary emphasis on warranty, trumping all other factors including cost, and a significantly high emphasis on customer service. Homeowners want to know their investment is protected and valued. For the Raleigh and Charlotte homeowners who are considering solar panels, rest assured that when you choose Freedom Solar Power as your installer, your entire system is backed by SunPower’s 25-year warranty, which is the most comprehensive solar warranty for panels, microinverters and racking. We also offer a 10-year warranty for your monitoring system. Freedom Solar will be your one-stop-shop to manage the warranty and any service needs, simplifying the process of solar ownership for you.
4) Once homeowners went solar, their top concerns moved away from cost:
While cost was the main concern or barrier for those considering solar (84% of respondents), priorities shifted once a homeowner chose a solar installation (whereas only 54% of respondents noted cost). This is likely due to the realization that financing is readily available to reduce out-of-pocket costs. Solar owners stated that Warranty tops their list, followed by Brand, which suggests that quality and service of the solar provider is key to ongoing success of their system and home energy needs.
For more information about the solar panels in North Carolina – Raleigh and Charlotte – read our full report with insights here.